Dean of Students responds to hurricane concerns


Courtesy of Dr. Willis

Dr. Gabe Willis, Dean of Students

The campus closure in anticipation of Hurricanes Marco and Laura has left many students with questions and concerns for the ongoing week.

To answer frequently asked questions, Dean of Students Dr. Gabe Willis conducted an Instagram Live on Sunday, Aug. 23. The dean provided clarification on questions regarding academics, refunds and resources on campus.

Students shared a collective concern for this week’s class assignments. Willis reiterated that no assignments will be due Monday, Aug 24. through Friday, Aug 28, but faculty is still allowed to assign course content.

“Your faculty member can assign things,” stated Willis. “They can give you assignments to do, but they can’t be due this week.”

Dr. Jeffrey Wight, department head of Music and Performing Arts, joined Willis’ Live to provide more insight on these operations. 

“Faculty are actually required to have a hurricane preparedness plan that sets how we won’t lose these days of instruction,” shared Wright. “So, they can even assign online classes for you to view. They just can’t be synchronous activities. Nothing that happens this week should have a negative impact on your academic progress.”

Along with academic concerns, Willis responded to student questions regarding refunds during the Instagram Live.

“The financial aid disbursement schedule is still on target,” clarified Willis. “Financial aid disbursements are still scheduled to go out on the normal schedule. If you were scheduled to receive a refund this week, that should still be moving forward.”

The impending hurricanes have also brought up questions about food accessibility on campus.

As of Aug. 25, University Housing released an email with this week’s operating hours for campus dining: The Mane Dish will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Aug. 26-29 and from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 30. Ascension Market will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29 and from 5 p.m. to midnight on Sunday, Aug. 30.

Willis also explained the Food Pantry will operate from the Wesley Foundation Campus Ministry throughout Aug. 24-28.

“Monday through Friday, it is actually going to be at the Wesley,” stated Willis. “Throughout the week, they are going to put prepackaged items together and hold them at the Wesley so that you can come there from 12 to four and pick up those prepackaged items if you’re in need of food.”

The dean concluded the Instagram Live by reminding students that the university will continue to provide information as the week progresses.

“We will inform you all as the week goes,” said Willis. “If it gets worse, we will continue to communicate to the student body about the plan. Let’s be prepared, but let’s protect what we release. Let’s say we’re going to be alright.”